Weight Loss

Don't Let the Size of Your Wedding Dress Dictate Your Self Worth!

That’s me before the party I attended last week in a wedding dress! And, without makeup!

That’s me before the party I attended last week in a wedding dress! And, without makeup!

“Oh my goodness, you look beautiful.” said the sales woman to the bride in the princess wedding gown.

“I think this is it. But...” her voice trailed off.

“But, what? You truly look remarkable.” she said in a high pitched chipper voice.

“It’s a 14.” the bride said quietly.

“Look past the size. This is the second time you’ve tried on this dress over the past week. I’m thinking this ‘the one’. Forget about what size it is. It doesn’t matter.” said the sales woman.

“You’re right!” she said with a twirl.

I am a wedding planner, wedding podcaster and wedding blogger. I surround myself with everything related to weddings, and it’s pretty safe to say that I’m deeply immersed the wedding world. But, until last week, I was not as immersed as I had previously thought. After all of these years, I totally missed something. Shopping for a wedding dress. Or the extreme experience of shopping for a wedding dress. You know, the experience of trying on several wedding dresses in several different sizes, several different styles and several different shapes? That one. Oddly enough, it’s an experience I had last week at a popular wedding dress chain.

As most of you know, I eloped. And while I didn’t end up wearing my wedding dress on my wedding day, I did try on wedding dresses with my mom, and shockingly, it was super easy. My pre-children body lent itself to a perfect A-Line dress; one that I found almost immediately. We were in a small little store off the beaten path, and the only two people in the shop (aside from the owner). It was luxurious. It was perfect. And, it was a total anomaly. I dodged a bullet without realizing I need to duck. Because my experience then, versus my experience trying on wedding dresses last week, was vastly different.

Drinking from a unicorn straw!

Drinking from a unicorn straw!

Last week, my experience was fun and miserable at the same time. It tested my normally confident and secure self, and made me question if I should even be trying on dresses at all. I mean, I’m not a bride. The dress was for an industry party that required guests to dress, “so extra” or over the top. And, I was going as a Bitchless Bride! So what the fuck was I doing trying on these dresses that made me feel shitty? Seriously, why make myself miserable for the sake of a party? I didn’t HAVE to go as a bride, I wanted to. But, I pushed through it. And I made myself push through because if I were a (real) bride like you, I’d have to find a dress, and that reasoning gave me the determination I needed to keep going. It forced me to change my perspective.

LOVE LOVE LOVE Danielle Duane, Jill Person + George Horemotis!!! We were EXTRA AS FUCK!

LOVE LOVE LOVE Danielle Duane, Jill Person + George Horemotis!!! We were EXTRA AS FUCK!

Once I decided that I wasn’t leaving without a dress, I started pulling every style, shape and size. I told myself that I wasn’t going to look at the evil little tag with the bullshit number testing every fiber of my self confidence. Because it wasn’t real. It wasn’t consistent. And it sure as hell wasn’t worth completely undoing years of self love for one fucking dress. So, I pulled sizes ranging from 6-16, and some were enormous and some I couldn’t pull past my thighs. And suddenly I was having fun. Well, in-between the sweating from pulling the dresses, trying them on and my irritated skin, it was fun. But, I learned something that day that I’ll never forget. I learned how powerful it was to change my perspective. My mood literally went from self loathing to fuck it in an instant. And, since I PREACH perspective on the podcast + blog, I thought I’d practice it.

Bridey, my experience could have set me back years. I mean, this experience was far worse than shopping for jeans. And we all know that jean shopping is no picnic. But, the decision to give zero fucks about a meaningless number in a dress and the decision to keep moving, changed my entire experience. It changed everything. I walked out of there with a dress (and earrings and a necklace and a headband veil). And that night at the party, I fucking rocked it! I was a badass Bitchless Bride! The best part? Several people thought I was wearing my actual wedding dress! Little did they know that I bought it the day before, and guerrilla taped the hem(s) so I could avoid falling down.

OMG… Jenny Williamson, Michelle DeVoe, Jill Person + George Horemotis! Yaaaassss!!!

OMG… Jenny Williamson, Michelle DeVoe, Jill Person + George Horemotis! Yaaaassss!!!

I’m sharing this story with you because I hope that by reading this article, you’ll remember to dose up with a shitload of perspective before you begin your wedding dress journey. Go in strong and stay strong. Ignore the bullshit “size” in the dress and go for what fits and feels good! Got it? Good!! Stay Bitchless!

The Top Five Wedding Planning Woes… How to Have a Strong Day When Wedding Planning Makes You Feel Like Shit…

“Have a strong day.” he said. And, all I could think about as I walked away is how clever it was to say, “Have a strong day,” as opposed to, “Have a great day,” or “Have a lovely morning,”. I mean, even though I was walking towards the treadmill at the gym, prior to embarking on a super difficult boot camp session, and, oh, the dude who uttered such brilliance was a trainer, I’ve been thinking about it all morning… I can’t shake it and it’s dual meaning. And, I’m 100% going to steal this double entendre, and use it every chance I get. Why? Because it resinated with me. It literally moved me. It made me run faster on the treadmill, and push myself harder during boot camp, but more than anything else, it made me get out of my head, move past the bullshit I’ve been holding onto, and DECIDE to have a fucking strong day! Literally and figuratively! And, you know what, bridey? You can have a strong day too! Allow me to elaborate…

Bridey, I know that there are days when it all feels like too much. You have a job, you have responsibilities, you want to workout or spend time with your sig other, and at the same time you need to keep up with wedding planning timelines, deadlines, and targets. Annnnnndddd…. On top of all of that, there are quite a few factors that make you feel like shit while wedding planning; shit that depletes your strength and makes you feel like crawling into bed, hiding under the covers and sleeping until it’s all over. Am I right? A lot of things can make you feel like shit, and they range in decibels as they echo over and over in your head. So, why don’t we focus on the top five (so that your head doesn’t explode)? Because as much as I hate to admit it, there are way too many wedding planning woes that can fuck with your mojo, and by discussing the top five, hopefully we will set you up to handle the other, smaller woes that can make you feel weak, and diminish our “strong day” goals. Ready? I’m just gonna spew them out, and then give you some pointers… Family dynamics, budget, weight loss, loss of a parent and bridal party drama. 

1. Why don’t we start with a big one? Family dynamics. BRUTAL for some of you… And unfortunately, without knowing the specific details, I can’t give you specific advice, but I can tell you that these problems will not fix themselves. It’s important for you to deal with the issues that arise as they happen because sitting on them will not make them go away, (nor will wishing them away). For example, if your soon to be mother-in-law is super opinionated, and attempting to recreate her wedding vicariously through you and your sig other, then squash it as quickly as it begins. How? Give her a few wedding planning jobs to do (that you either aren’t fond of doing yourself, or that you don’t particularly care about) so that she feels like she’s contributing. I’m betting that’s why she’s behaving the way that she is. Because she’s feels excluded from the big picture. Don’t underestimate the power of inclusion (or exclusion). And even though she’s not communicating this well, or the way she’s expressing herself grates on the very fibers of your soul, it’s the truth.                             

Look, bridey, no matter what you’re up against, oftentimes, tough family dynamics usually boil down to very simple roots; roots that were tangled a long time ago and need to be addressed with kid gloves, and carefully. So, if it was your parents tumultuous divorce, drama over the guest list, or the budget, think back to where this trouble might have stemmed from… And, handle it using the basics we learned in kindergarten. Be nice to others, include others, respect others… It’s important for you to dig deep, be STRONG, and remember why you are getting married in the first place.

2. Budget. I swear it should be a four letter word. Because it sucks, it stings, and it stinks. Seriously, don’t you wish weddings were free? Fuck yeah you do! But, the truth is that they aren’t. And the other truth is that you, bridey, don’t really have a clue what things cost because you’ve never done this before (most of you anyway). Weddings are an expensive milestone. And, staying strong during money conversations is HARD especially because most of the time it feels like you’re giving up something that you really want. Right? That’s where I need you to adjust your thinking… Every time you have to let go of something you want, just think of what you’re replacing it with…    

Not enough cash for a band? Don’t worry! A great DJ will rock your wedding, and you don’t have to worry about a band learning new songs or eight vendor meals. Purchase a preowned designer wedding dress instead of buying a new one. Are most of your guests local? Awesome! Then get married on a Friday or Sunday. Most venues will work with your budget on their “off” days. You see where I’m going with this, right? 

3. Losing weight. Fuuuuuuuccccckkkk! Fuck it’s hard to lose weight. You gotta measure, calculate and workout. Seriously, I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Here’s the thing. I LOVE to workout. I always have… But, I also LOVE to eat, and poorly. Well, not poorly, just sugary, boozy and carby. Is that so bad?? But, what I have come to learn is that I feel better when I eat healthy. I have more energy. I don’t feel lethargic at 3 PM. My mind is sharper.

Bridey, if you “need” to lose weight (I say need in parenthesis because a lot of the time it isn’t necessarily a necessity, but more of a desire), focus less on the number and more on how you feel when you treat your body well. Focus on getting strong. Focus on how great it feels to sweat your stress out. And then balance it with what you eat. And quit beating yourself up when you do eat sugar, booze and carbs. Just get back on track, immediately. Don’t give in to a case of the “fuck-its”. Try to make this less about sweatin’ for the weddin’ and more about living a healthy lifestyle, forever. HAVE A STRONG DAY!

4. Loss of a parent. Gulp. First of all, I am deeply sorry. I feel for you, bridey. Not having one or both of your parents present on your wedding day is difficult at best. And it sucks. And you are absolutely allowed to feel like shit about missing them as you plan your wedding. But, do your best to find a way to honor them without making yourself too sad. Because on your wedding day? They are there with you, and the last thing they’d want for you on such a big day is sadness, right? So, honor their memory and celebrate their life as you enter a new phase of yours. 

5. Bridal party drama. I am literally cringing as I type. This one gets me every time because of what I have seen first hand. Here’s the thing… Don’t choose your bridal party out of obligation. I can assure you that by doing so, you are absolutely setting yourself (and the others) up for drama. Who do you want next to you on your wedding day? Who will listen, like truly listen, as you vent about your wedding plans, and care? Who will tell you that your ass isn’t right in that wedding dress, and to keep searching for one that fits you better? THOSE are the peeps you want by your side! And if that means that your sister from another mister doesn’t make the cut because she’s not reliable, forgetful and sometimes selfish, so be it. Be strong. Get ahead of it. Have a conversation with her before asking the others to stand. Stop the drama before it begins.

Bridey, I know that by simply encouraging you to have a STRONG day, doesn’t mean that you will. And, I know that some days will be harder than others. But, you are in charge of how you feel. You can choose to feel strong or weak. So any time anybody says, “Have a good day,” I want you to change that sentence in your head to, “Have a STRONG day,” and then go do it! Got it??

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

How to Get Past the Stupid Shit People Say About Your Wedding Planning (and You), and Survive!

It’s no secret that people say stupid shit, right? I mean, sometimes I am absolutely dumfounded at the pure stupidity uttered from people who generally mean well, but can’t seem to find the right sequence of words to string together to make what they are  TRYING to say purposeful and/or helpful. And, oftentimes, the “offender” will recognize their error in judgement almost immediately (probably after seeing you cringe), put their foot in their mouth and apologize, but those other times… Oh my Gaaawwwd! UGH! The “offender” is completely clueless, continuing on with their judgy diatribe of words, leaving you to pick up the pieces of your pride and self worth. Am I right? Did you just picture a few “offenders”? So, how can you, bridey, get past the stupid shit people are inevitably going to say to you about your wedding plans (and you personally) at a time when you are at your most vulnerable?

Here's some of the stupidest shit people say — and the solutions:

The Complimenter: This is by FAR my favorite insultingly awesome “compliment” I hear my clients grieve over (usually for weeks).

Offender: “Oh my goodness! You look great! You’ve definitely lost A LOT of weight.” You see, this seems and feels like a compliment, however the implication is that you had A LOT of weight to lose, and that you were a giant fat ass prior to losing all of this weight for the wedding.

The solution?: Reinterpret the statement as, “Oh my goodness! You look great! You’ve clearly been working hard.” Because, in my heart of hearts, bridey, I know that this is what the “offender” meant to say. It’s just that they didn’t say it tactfully, which means you have to change how you hear it.

The Comparer: When the “offender” is trying to stir the shit… This bitch knows exactly what she is doing, and is purposefully trying to get you riled up.

Offender: “Wow. When I planned my wedding, I had all of my vendors lined up within weeks of choosing the date.” OR “I already had all of that stuff done at this point in the planning.” The implication here is that you are way behind the eight ball, and you’re fucked; your wedding is fucked, and she’s better than you.

The solution?: Rise above, bridey, rise above! Walk away from this conversation, and rid yourself of the bullshit comparison. Even if you ARE feeling behind in your wedding planning, you don’t want to engage with somebody who isn’t there to help you, but would rather compete with you. So, don’t compete. And, the good news for you slackers (kidding), is that being behind in your wedding planning doesn’t mean you won’t catch up. And fast. A lot of the time, all it takes is an hour or two to sit down, get yourself organized, and then knock things off of that “to-do” list.

The Inquisitor: We all have these people in our lives. They are super inquisitive, super annoying, and super nosy. Quite simply, they ask too many questions and don’t know when to quit.

Offender: “Your ring is huge! I can only imagine what your wedding budget looks like…” OR “How much is this whole ‘wedding thing’ setting you back?” OR “How does it feel to be the last of you friends getting married?” See what I mean? Too many fucking questions! Rude ones! Insensitive ones!

The solution?: Other than saying nothing and walking away? Or being an asshole (I give you permission, but…)? Don’t use seven words when four will do (totally stole this line from Brad Pitt in Ocean's Eleven)… Be short and concise as you gently tell the “offender” to mind their own business. You don’t have to answer these questions, bridey. In fact, please don’t. Shut it down, and move on.

The Diminisher: This one KILLS me. Like scrape me off of a busy road, kind of kills me… The diminisher has a tendency to make you feel small for caring as much as you do about your wedding (and the planning).

Offender: “I don’t know what the big deal is… It’s just one day.” Holy shit! Hold me back! Buuuuuut, the thing is, I actually agree with the “offender” because it IS just one day, and your marriage is about so.much.more than the day itself. However, it is a stressful, expensive and emotional day, and to downplay the enormity of it gives me rage.

The solution?: Don’t give in. Don’t let the “offender” get away with that bullshit, while at the same time don’t sink down to their level. There is no need to justify this statement. Simply say that it’s important to you, and they don’t have to understand.

The “Ought-er”: The ought-er is somebody who generally means well, but has a strong opinion about what you should be doing.

Offender: “You ought-a look into getting your haircut before the wedding.” OR “You ought-a make sure you have the budget for the extra flowers.” OR “You ought-a BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!” We get it, and perhaps you’re right, but whenever anybody starts a sentence with “you ought-a”, I immediately tune out because I am annoyed.

The solution?: Tune it out like I do. The ought-er is usually a nice person who has your best interests in mind, but doesn’t express it well. So be polite and take the “ought-er” with a grain of salt.

Bridey, you are doing great! It’s super important for you to ignore the stupid shit people say as you plan your wedding. 99% of the time, it’s them, not you!!! So, keep your wits about you, and continue to slay the cray!!!

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography

The Truth Hurts Tuesday ~ Can I Get a HOLYSHITGODDAMN?

***Guest Post: Story by Heavy Cross***

Bitchless Beauty reporting for duty - though this time, as a super irate and fed up bride-to-be. And I think I know one way that brides can cut down on their stress, frustration, anger and the ensuing red mist that can only mean we're approaching Bitchzilla territory.

It's by saying 'fuck off' to those who REALLY need to hear it. NOT your wedding planner, NOT your make up artist, and NOT your caterer (i.e. the people you're paying, so thefore you feel some sort of entitlement). Your vendors know what they are doing, and you're paying them based on your own educated decision.

Say it to whomever has truly earned it. The people you're NOT paying. The people who DON'T know what they're doing. Yes - the people on your guest list, family members or old friends that you by now 'have' to get along with, so they know damned well they can throw tact to the wind and give you all sorts of advice about how they did it, how they would do it, and how you should do it.

I've been working in this industry for years, and I can safely say that I'm a pretty laidback bride - as in, close to horizontal. All I really care about is that the people I love are in the same place for the day, and that at the end of it I am married to my favourite person. If that happens, I've kicked a goal. I have swallowed and digested all manner of advice, recommendations, insinuations and ideas.

I get that everyone involved feels they have some sort of stake in or ownership of the wedding, and I know that it ultimately comes from a place of love and excitement. But, HOLYSHITGODDAMN.